THE PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF CALIFORNIA - This site is dedicated to exposing the continuing Marxist Revolution in California and the all around massive stupidity of Socialists, Luddites, Communists, Fellow Travelers and of Liberalism in all of its ugly forms.

"It was a splendid population - for all the slow, sleepy, sluggish-brained sloths stayed at home - you never find that sort of people among pioneers - you cannot build pioneers out of that sort of material. It was that population that gave to California a name for getting up astounding enterprises and rushing them through with a magnificent dash and daring and a recklessness of cost or consequences, which she bears unto this day - and when she projects a new surprise the grave world smiles as usual and says, "Well, that is California all over."

- - - - Mark Twain (Roughing It)

Sunday, April 26, 2015

A Winter Wildfire in the Eastern Sierra - California's Drought

Eastern California is on its own

  • Not much can be done for Eastern California.  But I am still waiting for Sacramento to address desalination plants for the people and businesses of California.

BISHOP -- The fire came up quickly here in the eastern Sierra Nevada, destroying 35 homes and taking the mountainside community of Swall Meadows by surprise. Who would expect a roiling wildfire -- throwing fireballs and whipping up flame whirls through 7,000 acres of sagebrush, piñon and Jeffrey pine -- in the dead of winter?
"Three years before, I had 12 feet of snow at my house on that exact date in February," said volunteer Fire Chief Dale Schmidt, whose Wheeler Crest station in the remote Swall Meadows neighborhood is surrounded by carcasses of burned homes. "Four years ago, they would have had a couple to 3 feet of snow where the fire started. That's the mental state people were in: Winter is not the season for fire danger."

It is now.

As California enters its fourth year of drought, communities across the West are confronting a new reality -- a year-round fire season. Perhaps nowhere are the consequences as obvious as in Swall Meadows, where the 300 residents are now shoveling ash instead of snow.

Coping with chronic fire danger is the focus of the latest installment of this newspaper's ongoing series, "A State of Drought." Since January -- the driest and warmest in California history -- the state's firefighters have battled nearly 850 wildfires, twice as many as in a normal year. In 2014, the state endured 1,000 more wildfires than in a typical year.

Drought and steadily rising temperatures have lengthened the fire season by an average of 70 days compared with four decades ago.

Twigs should be bending now, not breaking. The ground around Swall Meadows should be wet and mushy. But there's been so little snow in recent years that locals have taken to saying, "Now we get 15 feet of wind."
And a fire in February.

The Battle Over Water

The neighborhood of Swall Meadows sits on the high-desert edge of the Owens Valley, a place whose fortunes and fate have revolved around battles over water. This is where the city of Los Angeles, a century ago, lured ranchers into selling their irrigated land and Owens River water rights. At one point in the 1920s, dissident ranchers set dynamite to the Los Angeles Aqueduct. Books, including Marc Reisner's seminal "Cadillac Desert," have been written about it. The 1974 Oscar-winning movie "Chinatown," starring Jack Nicholson, dramatized it.
To look at the landscape, it's hard to imagine a place like this would have that much water to fight over. It's brown and scrubby -- dotted like a plucked chicken with sage and bitterbrush.
This is not the Sierra of Yosemite and Lake Tahoe, where dense forests and scenic meadows and miles and miles of rolling foothills gradually spill into the Central Valley. This is what locals like to call the "front side" of the Sierra, where the mountains fall as sharply as a guillotine on the landscape. The peaks are so high -- at 13,000 feet -- that storms blowing in from the Pacific tire out by the time they get here, leaving the Owens Valley in a "rain shadow."
In a typical year, only about 5 inches of rainfall, just enough for the desert peach and wild iris to cast their blooms across the glacial moraine and, with snowmelt, fill Southern California aqueducts. Since January, the rain gauges here have barely registered.

Read More at the San Jose Mercury News.com

The War Against the Los Angeles Aqueduct
One hundred years ago, the opening of the Los Angeles Aqueduct gave birth to our modern metropolis while forever constraining the destiny of the rural communities near the water’s source in the Owens Valley. In contemporary Los Angeles, we express our collective guilt by referring to the 233-mile engineering marvel as our “original sin.” But vague expressions of guilt have done little to assuage the anger in the Owens Valley—an anger that has often boiled over into violence.
Peace prevailed over the first decade following the aqueduct’s 1913 completion. But when a thirsty Los Angeles started pumping groundwater from beneath the valley floor in 1923, the city’s secret land deals and legal maneuverings encouraged a culture of mistrust among Owens Valley residents. On May 21, 1924, local farmers dynamited the Alabama Gates, a part of the aqueduct near Lone Pine where operators could divert water in case of an overflow. Six months after the bombing, dozens of valley residents occupied the gates, opening the emergency spillway and thus diverting Los Angeles’ water supply into the parched bed of the Owens Lake.  Read More: LA Magazine.

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